IQ

Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Mon Oct 24 15:26:20 MDT 1994


While people are considering this latest revival of the "IQ" debate,
it's worth looking at the main protagonist of it this century, Cyril
Burt. He has been criticised by his biographer for inventing co-researchers
and inventing his statistics (though a more recent work has cast doubt on
the second of these critiques); but the real irony was how he correlated
the IQ of children from different social classes with that of their parents,
and also how he worked out social class.

Briefly, he did measure the IQ of identical twins raised apart; but he
often "adjusted" the scores, based on what their teachers thought they
should have been. He did not measure the IQ of the parents--instead,
he inferred these from their occupations!, imputing a low IQ to a
working class father and a high IQ to a professor (the sexism is
intended). Finally, he imputed social class from the father of the
twins on the one hand, and the father of the adopter on the other.
A sample pair here was the twin sons of an Oxford professor, one of
whom was raised by his widow, the other by a farmer in (from memory)
Surrey.

The son of the don was regarded as being from the upper class, in
Burt's peculiar class break-up; the son raised by the farmer went into
the lower class. Only two problems: the former's father was DEAD! His
mother raised him, in quite possibly impoverished circumstances, since
she was not a professor. And the farmer apparently owned some 5,000 acres
in Surrey.

Nonetheless, Burt's "statistics" on IQ being 80% inherited, and only
20% due to social class and other factors, continue to surface.
Cheers,
Steve Keen


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